It’s the most wonderful time of the year, no not Christmas (although a huge fan of that too), Halloween! Okay yes, I am early, but there is a good reason for that… a reason at least. Yes, I am one of those people completely obsessed with Halloween, and one of those people that actually consumes all manner of Halloween related media year round so why does it really matter when it’s October or not. But that is neither here nor there, over the years several shows have made sure to present their audiences with Halloween themed episodes, and there are some great ones out there. Some really focus on the holiday itself, others just use it as a backdrop for other stories. Either way here are a few of my favorites. Also since I am getting this up early, it means you can plan and fit any you’d like to watch in your special October viewings!
Note: As always, these are my favorites. So if I haven’t seen a show or maybe don’t like it as much as you do, it’s not that something is “missing.” It’s just that it doesn’t make the cut for me personally. I acknowledge that shows that I am not a huge fan of also put effort into their Halloween shows and deserve their props.
Summerween, Gravity Falls
So what do you do when you have a show that takes place over one summer, but you want to do a Halloween episode for the season? Well, you get creative and decide that the town cannot abide by just having Halloween once a year and so they have Summerween as well. Aside from an innovative solution to the Halloween in summer problem, it’s also a great episode. It features a reoccurring theme of Dipper stuck between being a child and a young teen. He wants to appear mature for Wendy, but this means pulling away from his sister and not enjoying their favorite holiday. It is an important theme in the show, and the development of it is always compelling. Of course, it has its Gravity Falls zaniness added with a monster demanding candy from the twins. It is also just a fun episode with some great jokes and visuals.
Halloween, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
So Halloween has become a bit of a thing with the show and features a yearly heist. In the latest season, the date of the heist was moved, and it was a bit tongue in cheek about how crazy the episodes have gotten. Still, we can’t forget where it all started. Peralta makes a bet with Captain Holt, and his attempts to win drive him to sillier and sillier stunts. I don’t know that it is actually the best of the Halloween Heists, but it does deserve credit for starting the trend.
Community does a zombie movie basically. The group is together for Halloween and thanks to a “great” deal the dean got, they all get sick with symptoms that play out like a zombie plague. You get it, want to bite, it passes on. No eating of flesh, but everything else is there. It is a classic zombie story only sped up for the short episode mark. It’s funny and entertaining despite not really breaking any molds. It is a solid Community episode, which means different things to different people. It does get added bonus points for unfolding with ABBA songs as the entire soundtrack.
Who Got Dee Pregnant, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
If you can enjoy, It’s Always Sunny this is actually one of my favorite episodes. Dee utterly ruins the guy’s night by informing them that one of them is the father of her baby. They, of course, try to uncover the mystery of who got her pregnant at a Halloween party several months earlier. Let’s face it the brand of humor of It’s Always Sunny is either for you or it’s not, and there is no shame if it’s not. The episode is crude but hilarious with a great finisher.
Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street, Bob’s Burgers
This one was actually pretty rough because Bob’s Burgers has several excellent Halloween episodes. The Hauntening and Full Bars both are fantastic. What edges it for me just a bit with Nightmare on Ocean Avenue Street is actually Bob and Teddy’s story. The street that Bob’s Burgers is on is closed off only allowing foot traffic through, making it prime for both the kids and the adults. In the ’kids’ case, someone is stealing the Halloween candy. Bob and Teddy get in a competition with the store next door for the best Halloween decorations. It’s a funny episode filled with great moments. Like many of my favorite Bob’s Burgers episodes, I can watch it again and again, and it never gets old.
Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery, South Park
South Park has gone through a lot of changes throughout the years, but this episode was back when the show was a bit sillier than it is now. Korn comes to town because, why not? They fill in as a weird version of the Scooby-Doo gang, while the boys attempt to scare older kids using Kyle’s grandmother’s corpse. Alright, it is not an example of groundbreaking TV, but it is funny (although South Park humor, so buyer beware) and a reminder that while the show has matured, it was fun when it was a bit more stupid.
Haunted, Dead Like Me
So, I actually have a love/hate relationship with this episode if for no other reason than it ended up being the series finale even though it wasn’t planned at the time. Any fan of the show will rant about the abrupt end to it. Unlike others on the list, this one is more upsetting. It does follow George’s development like the rest of the show, although in this case, she has adjusted more to her role as a reaper. She is given another upsetting set of souls to collect as there is a serial killer that hunts on Halloween. It was compelling to watch George fit more into her role, and the episode is well written and while troubling, entertaining. It does make me regret that we didn’t get to see a more natural progression with the show, however.
Halloween Surprise, Parks and Rec
So this episode has actually very little about Halloween. It features a Halloween party at the office and then branches into several stories that are set up at that point. It is a good episode though, and fans of Leslie and Ben can probably guess why I love it so much. It’s funny, cute, and has enough Halloween to make it count. It is worth noting that Parks and Rec actually had a much better Halloween episode that has not aged well due to a guest appearance. I debated passing up on this show entirely and even passing on mentioning that, but I do really like Halloween Surprise, and you can take the other episode as you will.
Those are a few of my favorite Halloween themed episodes from shows. What are some of yours?